Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, December 7, presented in the Lok Sabha a list of the names of farmers who had allegedly passed away during the agitation against the three farm laws farm over the last year.
Seeking compensation and jobs for the families of the deceased, he also accused the Union agriculture minister Narendra Tomar of not having any data on farmers who died during the protests. Gandhi also said that the Union government had not given farmers their rights.
Gandhi, who had earlier given an adjournment motion notice on the farmers’ issue, had stated in the notice sent to the Secretary General of Lok Sabha that the farmers issue was “a definite matter of urgent importance”.
An MP from Wayanad, Gandhi had also pointed out how “farmers continue to seek justice and raise demands on various issues affecting the fundamentals of agriculture.”
He said the farmers were seeking “justice for all those who are being falsely prosecuted in manufactured cases and for the families of the farmers, who sacrificed themselves in the yearlong agitation.”
Various farmers unions have claimed that over 700 farmers lost their lives during the year-long agitation that followed amendments to three farm laws. They had also demanded that compensation be provided to the families of the deceased and all criminal cases lodged against protesting farmers be withdrawn.
But while the Union government on November 29 repealed the three farm laws, without allowing any discussion on them despite demands for the same by opposition members, it had claimed that there was no data to suggest that farmers had died during the protests and therefore, the question of providing compensation did not arise.
Gandhi, who was allowed by the Lok Sabha Speaker to speak during the Question Hour, insisted that around 700 farmers died during the agitation, even though the Union government has claimed not to possess any data on the same. “PM apologised to the nation and farmers, accepting that he made a mistake. On November 30, the agriculture minister was asked about how many farmers died in the agitation. He said he doesn’t have any data,” he said.
Gandhi also placed in the Lok Sabha a list of the names of 400 farmers from Punjab, who he said had died during the agitation. He said the families of these farmers were paid Rs 5 lakh compensation each by the Congress government in the state. Besides, the state government also provided jobs to 152 of their family members, he claimed.
The Congress leader said a similar list has been prepared of farmers from Haryana who died during the protest. “We have made another list of 70 farmers from Haryana,” he said, adding that he wants the “farmers to be given their rights, compensation as well as jobs”.
Earlier, on December 4, Gandhi had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi “insensitive” as he was not paying compensation to the families of the farmers who died during the agitation. He had claimed, “These people have died as a result of the agitation. We are not talking about billions of dollars, thousands of crores of rupees. We are talking about minimum compensation for the sacrifice they have made.”
Following year-long protests over the farm laws, Modi had on November 19 announced that the Union government would be repealing the three amended laws.
Meanwhile, the Congress today also raised the issue of compensation for farmers in Rajya Sabha. MP Manish Tiwari raised the issue through an adjournment motion in which he had also raised related issues such as the Minimum Support Price to the farmers for their produce, jobs for the families of farmers who died during the agitation and withdrawal of cases filed against the farmers during the protests.